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No. 10 USC jumps out to halftime lead over No. 12 Stanford in Pac-12 Championship Game

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Pac-12 After Dark appears to be stuck in traffic, but it’s getting there.

A somewhat dull college football game got a lot more exciting in the closing minutes of the second quarter at the Pac-12 Championship on Friday evening, as No. 10 USC methodically grabbed a 17-14 halftime lead over No. 12 Stanford in a rematch for a title at Levi’s Stadium.

Not surprisingly, star quarterback Sam Darnold was at the center of most of the action. The signal-caller finished the half with 171 yards passing and a pair of scores, the first a touchdown pass off play-action to Michael Pittman from seven yards out to light up the scoreboard first. The two hooked up again in the closing minutes for a big 40 yard gain that later setup a short Tyler Vaughns catch and run right to the pylon.

Running back Ronald Jones was a pretty big part of the offense too, rushing for 75 yards and helping churn out long drives to control the clock against a team that entered the game on short rest.

Stanford’s offense was a little hit or miss but seemed to start rolling toward the end of each quarter. Aided by several penalties, Bryce Love (only 37 yards rushing) found the end zone from nine yards out for the team’s first points but there was not much in the way of explosive plays from the Cardinal after a half of play. Quarterback K.J. Costello did pick up a few first downs with his arm as time was winding down and finished with 76 yards in the air while Cameron Scarlett punched in the other touchdown from a yard out.

The two in-state rivals are both battling a little history on either side of this one. Stanford is 3-0 in the championship game since the conference started it in 2011, while the North Division overall is undefeated in the event. On the flip side, USC hasn’t captured the league title in nearly a decade and are hoping to defeat the Cardinal for a second time this season.

USC gives football booster the boot over tweets stating protestors should be shot

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USC has one less booster for its football program.

Former Los Angeles Police Department Union attorney Marla Brown is a USC graduate.  She is also officially registered as a USC football booster.  Or, she was.

In the wake of the abhorrent murder of George Floyd, peaceful protests have, in some cases, devolved into riots and looting across the country. In tweets posted to her Twitter account Sunday morning, Brown stated “Shoot the protestors” and exclaimed, “they need to be shot.”

While the tweets are no longer available as Brown has subsequently deleted her Twitter account, they were saved for posterity.

The LAPD made it perfectly clear that Brown is not an employee.  Then USC athletic director Mike Bohn announced in a statement that the USC football program is severing its ties with Brown. “Racism and hate speech will not be tolerated,” Bohn wrote in a tweet that contained his statement, which appears in full below:

Last night we were made aware of abhorrent and blatantly racist tweets from an individual who identified as a USC Football Booster. Following an immediate investigation into the matter, we informed the individual that their season ticket and Trojan Athletic Fund membership privileges have been revoked and their payments will be promptly returned. Their account has been flagged in our system to prevent future purchases.

Thank you to the USC community for helping us identity this individual so that we could move swiftly to terminate our relationship. We stand in solidarity with the Black community.

Star Clemson WR Justyn Ross will miss entire 2020 season because of neck issue; Dabo Swinney says there’s no guarantee he can play football again

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One member of the Clemson football program has been dealt a very significant blow.  Whether it’s a blow that costs him the remainder of his career remains to be seen.

Justyn Ross was very limited as Clemson worked its way through spring football practice that was ultimately scuttled because of the coronavirus pandemic.  In lieu of an official explanation from the program, rumors of the seriousness of Ross’ health issues have been bouncing off the vast expanses of the Internet.

In mid-March, Dabo Swinney attempted to clear the air, saying that the standout wide receiver is “perfectly fine” even as he’s dealing with what’s being described as “stinger symptoms.” Late last month, however, it was reported that Ross will undergo surgery in June.  A Clemson football official subsequently confirmed that a medical procedure is in the offing.

Monday, Swinney confirmed that Ross will undergo surgery this month.  In doing so, Swinney also confirmed that the receiver will miss the entire 2020 season.  And, it’s an issue that could end his playing career.

Ross was the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama in the Class of 2018, and he has more than lived up to the recruiting hype.

His first two seasons with the Clemson football program, Ross has totaled 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns on 112 receptions.  This past season, caught 66 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns.

In four career College Football Playoff games, Ross has a statline of 23-424-3. for the Tigers

Texas kicker/punter Chris Naggar reportedly transfers to SMU

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SMU is once again on the positive side of the football transfer portal.

Earlier this offseason, Chris Naggar entered the NCAA transfer database.  This weekend, 247Sports.com indicated that the kicking specialist has transferred into the SMU football program.

As of yet, neither the player nor the school has confirmed the development.

Naggar would be heading to the Mustangs as a graduate transfer.  The upcoming season would serve as his final year of eligibility.

Naggar joined the Texas Longhorns as part of its Class of 2016.  His first three years in Austin, the Arlington, Tex., native didn’t see the field.

This past season, Naggar appeared in seven games for the Longhorns.  He punted the ball 25 times in 2019, averaging 39.3 yards per punt.  He also kicked off three times in his seven appearances.

This offseason, SMU has added a pair of Power Five transfers to its football roster.  Stanford offensive lineman Mike Williams joined the AAC team in February.  Arkansas wide receiver TQ Jackson did the same three months later.  Additionally, starting linebacker Richard Moore was granted a sixth season of eligibility.

The Mustangs are coming off a 10-3 campaign, the program’s most wins since the pre-death penalty season of 1984.  In December, SMU announced it had reached an agreement on a contract extension with head football coach Sonny Dykes.

Tom Allen addresses ‘devastating’ shooting death of former Indiana defensive lineman Chris Beaty

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A tragedy that struck the Indiana football program has drawn a response from its head coach.

It was reported Monday that Chris Beaty “was one of two men shot and killed in separate incidents over the weekend as violence erupted in Downtown Indianapolis.” The 38-year-old Beaty was shot multiple times shortly before midnight local time Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Beaty was a defensive lineman for the Indiana Hoosiers football team from 2000-04.

Monday afternoon, Tom Allen addressed the tragic development.

“I am at a loss for words. The news of the passing of Chris Beaty is just devastating. Since I returned home to coach at Indiana, Chris embraced me, encouraged me and supported me! His passion for life and Indiana Football energized me every time we were together. He was one of our first alumni that displayed his unwavering support for what we are building here at Indiana and how we are building it. I am so heartbroken for his family and he will be deeply missed by all those that were blessed to call him a friend! LEO”

Despite being away from the Indiana football program for nearly two decades, Beaty remained close to it.

HoosierHuddle.com wrote that “Beaty was still actively involved with IU football. He tweeted on April 26th a screenshot of head coach Tom AllenMark Deal and several other Indiana football alumni. He thanked Allen for checking in with the former players and said that IU football was in good hands.”

Included was a tweet from Beaty’s personal Twitter account.